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    For your information, we have collected
    the most frequently asked questions below.

Below, we have addressed few questions
you might have about your ultrasound experience

Our ultrasound scans are elective, non-diagnostic and not meant to replace the ones ordered by your obstetrician. You must be under the care of a general practitioner and provide his/her information upon sign-in.

Should you have questions not answered here, please call the ICU Ultrasound Studio on +353 (0)91 458 543  or +353 (0)87 132 5443 so we can address your questions or concerns.

What is ultrasound?

Ultrasound is a high frequency sound wave which is beyond human capacity for hearing. Current ultrasound technology works by transmitting this sound wave through the body and detecting echoes returning from different tissue densities. Unlike in X-ray, there is no ionizing radiation involved.

Is ultrasound safe?

Ultrasound examinations have never been shown to damage patients or babies. Unlike the  x-ray, ultrasound does not utilise ionizing radiation. Instead, it uses high-frequency sound waves that makes it safe for you and your baby. By use of ultrasound, we can examine various aspects of your pregnancy, such as:

  • the size of the baby,
  • how well the baby’s heart works,
  • how well other organs (such as the spine, brain and kidneys) are growing,
  • the anticipated date of birth.

As any other medical imaging techniques, ultrasound is not a perfect science. In obstetrics, the limits of this technique is highly dependent on the age of the baby, your body composition, and the position of your baby within the womb. In addition, the quality of ultrasound examination is extremely dependent on the ultrasound equipment, the expertise of the sonographer carrying out the ultrasound scan,  previous abdominal surgery (ultrasound will be less clear when the mother’s abdomen is thick or scarred) and the physician who interprets your exam.

By ultrasound, experienced physicians can detect many, though not all, abnormalities. However, unfortunately, certain abnormalities cannot be detected by ultrasound at all due to their nature. Finding an abnormality depends on many factors, including the age and position of the baby, as well as the size and type of abnormality. Hence, we need to emphasize the importance of a proper blood test for screening the most common developmental disorders. At the ICU Studio, we can offer both the Harmony Prenatal Test and the “Quad test” for screening purposes.

Harmony Prenatal Test is an accurate and reliable test that specifically targets the DNA in chromosomes 21, 18 and 13. While rare, these are the most common chromosomal abnormalities that occur in babies born to women of any age, when no other risk factors are known. While traditional blood tests can miss as many as 15% of Down syndrome cases in pregnant women, the Harmony Prenatal Test’s DNA-based technology accurately identifies more than 99% of cases.

Are your staff properly trained?

Our doctor has completed many theoretical and practical ultrasound courses in the field of early pregnancy ultrasound, 3D/4D ultrasound, general abdominal ultrasound, emergency and GP ultrasound.

She has been providing ultrasound for her patients since 2010.

Can I have my family with me?

Absolutely! Foetal ultrasound scan is a unique experience in modern medicine. It is an ideal time to nurture family bonding. We encourage you to bring your loved ones to share this experience. Please be aware of our room limitation, however. Any more than two to three visitors become overly crowded. We send you home with pictures and a CD to share this experience with the rest of your family and friends.

What can I expect during the ultrasound scan?

Any new experience can potentially be anxiety provoking so we are trying to make the experience as pleasant as possible. There is no pain involved. You should be about 15 minutes early to your appointment for paper work. You will have a brief consultation period with the physician performing the scan where your remaining questions can be answered. You will then be guided to a comfortable darkened room for the ultrasound scan. Most exams are abdominal and can be performed in your street clothes. We recommend you to wear loose comfortable clothing which can easily expose your abdomen. Some nonstaining, pre-warmed gel will be spread on your abdomen. Your only task is to lay down and enjoy the view of your baby in your womb on a screen. You can resume normal activity immediately after the exam.

How can I prepare for the ultrasound scan?

Unlike CT scan or colonoscopy, there is relatively little preparation needed. You do not have to fast and you do not have to have bowel prep. You may or may not have to come with a full bladder depending on the study scheduled. We will give you proper instructions when you schedule your appointment. We do recommend that you wear loose comfortable clothing.

Which session does include dating of my pregnancy?

All of our sessions include dating of your pregnancy.

Can you determine the gender of my baby?

We typically perform gender scans from the 16th week of pregnancy. A successful gender scan, however, requires an appropriately positioned baby. Therefore, if you are interested in the gender determination by ultrasound only, please note that, due to the above limitation of the ultrasound technology, there is always a risk of misreading the gender indicators. For the same reasons, we do not advise you to come for a gender scan earlier than 16th weeks of your pregnancy.

If your pregnancy is older than 16 weeks and we are not able to determine the gender of your baby upon your first visit due to the position of the baby, you are entitled for a second visit. For technical reasons, however, we ask you to secure your complimentary return appointment on-site immediately after your first visit.

If your pregnancy is younger than 16th week, you are not eligible for a complimentary return visit to determine the gender.

For those having an early pregnancy and still interested in the gender of their babies, however, we can offer the Harmony Prenatal Test from the 10th week for gender determination. Upon pregnancy, your blood contains fragments of your baby’s DNA. In the Harmony Prenatal Test, we determine the baby’s gender by analyzing these DNA fragments in a UK-based laboratory.

Does normal ultrasound result guarantee a normal baby?

Ultrasound cannot detect all abnormal conditions. It will only detect structural abnormalities large enough to be seen but smaller lesions may still be missed. Moreover, medical conditions may change over time during pregnancy so if the condition has not developed sufficiently at the time of the examination it cannot not be detected. Hydrocephaly, for example, may develop late in pregnancy and is typically missed at the time of a second trimester ultrasound. With all the hype and cute baby pictures, it is easy to underestimate limitations of the ultrasound technology.

If you are concerned of your baby’s health, we recommend combine ultrasound with maternal blood test for screening purposes. For further information on the available blood tests, please call us on +353 (0)91 458 543 or +353 (0)87 132 54 43.

What is the difference between 2D and 3D ultrasound scans?

2D ultrasound displays three dimensional objects in two dimensions. This is the older technology that is typically presented in those black & white photos physicians used to determine raw details of your unborn child for decades.

3D ultrasound is a more recent technology that provides a more detailed view of your child. This technology can display the depth of a three dimensional object and, thus, reveal features not seen in a typical 2D ultrasound.

What is the "Prime Time" for a 3D ultrasound scan?

In the absence of necessary maturation, we do not recommend 3D scans before week 26. Best quality 3D images of the baby’s face can be taken between 26-34 weeks when the baby is mature enough to show personal details. Though it is not impossible, it may be tough to capture great images after 34th week due to lack of space and fluid around the baby.

Do I need to drink lots of water?

For pregnancy ultrasound scans, hydration really makes the difference. It makes  your baby more visible and thereby images more clear. Hence, we recommend you to drink plenty of water (at least 2-3 liters daily) starting at least 7 days prior to your appointment, particularly if you are about to have a 3D ultrasound. If the ultrasound image is not turning out well due to lack of hydration or the baby’s position, we allow you to reschedule your scan for either free of charge or a €25 booking fee depending on the session type you attended. We require you to re-schedule you appointment before leaving the ICU Studio. Please note that in these cases, prints and/or CD’s will not be produced until the end of your re-scheduled session to make sure that you are provided the best possible quality materials.

How can I book an ultrasound session with the ICU Studio?

You can book your ultrasound scan by calling our landline at +353 (0)91 458 543 or +353 (0)87 132 54 43 on weekdays between 9 am and 5 pm. Upon your call, we are happy to assist you to choose the right scan for you and answer any questions you might have. Have you already had one, we do require a 72-hour notice to cancel and/or re-schedule your appointment. For details of our booking policy, please click here.

Please note that the fee for the service is payable on the day of the service.

Alternatively, you can submit your interest via this website online 24/7. However, please note that your inquiry submitted on-line will only be responded over the following two working days and cannot be considered as a secured appointment. Due to the nature of these scans, we cannot accept appointment bookings on-line without contacting our studio in person or via telephone.